Image is a journal of religion and the arts. I love the work they do, as it is in such alignment with my own passion for the monk and artist paths. I have attended their Glen Workshop with classes in writing and the arts in the past and found it to be really inspiring and enlivening.
So I am thrilled they have chose to review Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice in their latest newsletter:
Eyes of the Heart by Christine Valters Paintner is a little like Madeleine L’Engle’s classic Walking on Water, if L’Engle’s book had focused on one form of art—photography—and included engaging questions for reflection and photographic exercises for all levels. The author says, “This book will draw on the language of photography—light and shadow, framing, use of color, reflections—in order to see differently, to offer an invitation to our spiritual eyes as well, as light and framing become metaphors for our inner life.” This blend of inner and outer vision is useful and inspiring, providing both guided steps forward and big-picture inspiration to help any photographer renew their art by engaging it like a spiritual practice. Each chapter draws from the four steps of lectio divina—read, reflect, respond, and rest—and includes photographic exercises that function like visual prayers. Chapters like “Practices and Tools to Cultivate Vision” or “Seeing the Holy Everywhere” are woven through with wisdom from Rainer Maria Rilke and St. Benedict’s Rule, offering tools like contemplative walking, meditation (or visio divina, sacred seeing, as Paintner calls it), and receiving images (rather than “taking” them). One exercise encourages readers to change their perspective in some way, by lying on the floor or climbing a ladder—and then reflect, from that new angle, on how they might see God in unexpected places or ways. Eyes of the Heart will be eye-opening for accomplished professional photographers and casual snapshot-takers alike, modeling for all a balance between outward presence and inward seeking.